Yeah, jacking…. As in car-jacking…
One month into the 2016 session of the Connecticut General Assembly and the various front groups that work for the education reform and charter school industries have already spent more than $157,000 lobbying legislators in favor of their pro-charter school, pro-Common Core, pro-SBAC testing and anti-teacher agenda.
Led by a group that calls itself “The Big Six,” at least 25 registered lobbyists are working the State Capitol in favor of a political and policy agenda that includes diverting more scarce public funds away from public schools and to privately owned and operated charter schools.
Their legislative agenda also includes taking away local citizen control of public schools and supporting the Malloy administration’s effort to punish school districts in which more than 5 percent of the parents opt their children out of the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) testing scheme.
Not only do these “education reform” groups support the Common Core and the Common Core testing fiasco, they actively oppose the fundamental and inalienable right of parents to opt their children out of the SBAC tests.
These education reformers claim that SBAC testing is good for developing children’s “grit” and will determine if students are “college and career” ready – of course, the SBAC test is good for neither of those things.
In addition to their support for the massive and expensive standardized testing scam, the group supports using the SBAC test results to evaluate teachers, despite the fact that numerous academic studies have revealed that using standardized tests results is not an appropriate measure and should not be part of an effective teacher evaluation program.
“The Big 6” includes the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE), the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS), the Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS), the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA), Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN), and the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER).
In joint testimony this week, the lobbying alliance opposed a bill removing the discriminatory SBAC results from Malloy’s teacher evaluation program, claiming that they opposed efforts to “weaken” the system.
Weaken the system?
What about creating a system that actually services a mechanism to evaluate how well teachers are doing?
While “The Big 6” includes the state’s major charter school lobbying groups, it also includes three organizations that receive the majority of their funding from taxpayers.
The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE), the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) and the Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS) all get their primary funding from membership dues that are paid for by local property taxpayers via local school districts.
You know the political system is truly broken when taxpayer funded lobby groups are lobbying to undermine students, parents, teachers and taxpayers.
Since Governor Malloy introduced his “education reform” initiative in 2012, the charter schools and their education reform allies have spent well in excess of $7 million dollars lobbying for his agenda, which is a record breaking amount.
In addition to “The Big Six,” other organizations that are presently lobbying Connecticut legislators in favor of the charter school and “education reform” agenda include the Bronx Charter School for Excellence, the North East Charter Schools Network , Achievement First, Inc., the large charter school chain with schools in New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island, and Families for Excellent Schools, the New York-based lobbing and political entity that bused in charter school students and parents from as far away as New York City and Boston last year to rally in support of Malloy’s efforts to hand charter schools even more public funds.
In their most recent state budget plan, Governor Malloy and Lt. Governor Wyman proposed giving charter schools more money while, at the same time, proposing the deepest cuts in state history to Connecticut’s public schools. Malloy and Wyman are calling on the legislature to cut cut about $60 million from Connecticut’s public schools.
This while Connecticut charter schools already collect well over $100 million a year in Connecticut taxpayer funds.